Submitted by Sharon Davidson, Senior Director of Community Engagement

Big Bend Hospice (BBH) is pleased to announce, Bill Wertman, CEO, has been invited to serve on the External Advisory Board of ENHANCE (Enhancing Neurocognitive Health, Abilities, Networks, & Community Engagement) Center

ENHANCE focuses on technology solutions for older adults living with cognitive impairments, including mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and cognitive impairments due to stroke or traumatic brain injury. ENHANCE is part of a network of Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. The center consists of a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine, Florida State University, and the University of Illinois.

Prior to joining BBH, Wertman served as the CEO of Alzheimer’s Project, Inc. for over six years.  He also served as the Manager of the Geriatric Education Center for Florida State University’s College of Medicine from 2007 – 2009.  “Better understanding neurocognitive health is important and impactful for the patients and families we serve at Big Bend Hospice,” says Wertman.  “Last year, 30% of the patients we cared for were diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which equates to 659 lives adversely impacted neurocognitively.  There are real opportunities for us to find better interventions and options for care and I look forward to serving on the EAB and offering whatever perspective I can to the process.”

The overall objectives of the ENHANCE center are to:

  • Understand the challenges older adults with cognitive impairments encounter with living activities, how these vary according to type of cognitive impairment, and needed areas of and preferences for support.
  • Identify, develop, and evaluate potential technology solutions.
  • Disseminate findings to multiple stakeholders.
  • Advance new knowledge in the aging, cognitive disability, and technology space.

The EAB is structured to be multidisciplinary and includes expertise in geriatrics, gerontology, psychology, neurology, rehabilitation medicine, caregiving, cognitive impairments, community involvement, human-computer interaction, and technology design. “We believe Mr. Wertman’s expertise and experience in the area of cognitive impairments and past work with the Alzheimer’s Project makes him an ideal board member to provide guidance for our research moving forward and strategies for maximizing outreach and dissemination,” says Walter R. Boot, Ph.D., co-Director of ENHANCE.